NYC gain confidence from Raiders win
By Matt Logue
Monday 24 February 2014 10:52 AM
Newcastle Knights NYC coach Michael Crawley believes his side's confidence has been boosted significantly in the wake of their impressive 32-26 trial victory over the Canberra Raiders at Aubrey Keech Reserve in Sydney on Sunday.
In a highly entertaining match against a Raiders side who finished minor premiers last season, the Knights held off a fast-finishing Green Machine outfit to claim a hard fought win.
Crawley was happy with the result and says his team can take plenty of positives from their performance against one of the competition's leading teams.
Jaelen Feeney, Jah Pakau, Tuiala Togitasi, Sione Mata’utia, Chance Peni all impressed for the Knights.
"Certainly the boys got a lot of confidence out of the game," Crawley enthuses.
"It was a happy bus on the way home. I think it's good for them to see that a couple of things that we worked made a bit of a difference in the game.
"We set our goal to work on a few little things and that worked well for us.
"Things like our support, running hard and that was pretty good for us.
"I thought our middle guys where very good for us. They were nice and strong and aggressive, which was good.
"Our fitness was also good, which certainly helped and the pre-season has been very good.
"So that gives them confidence moving forward."
Canberra dominated the opening exchanges of the of the match on the back of ill-discipline and errors from the Knights.
This enabled the Raiders to jump out to an 8-0 lead after eight minutes.
The Knights hit back with a try to winger Bryce Donovan, who showed impressive shed to finish off a slick backline movement.
Josh Birch nailed the sideline conversion to reduce the Raiders lead to 8-6.
Newcastle took the lead, 10-8, just minutes later when hooker Danny Levi showed great skill to score.
Levi took a quick tap and was too quick for the Canberra defence to barge over next to the uprights.
The Raiders regained the lead when they ran the ball on the last tackle.
They converted the try to take the lead 14-10 after 30 minutes.
Knights star recruit Feeney did it all himself from close range minutes later with some fancy footwork to put the Knights back in the lead 16-14 at halftime.
Newcastle maintained the rage in the second half with back-rower Lachlan Fitzgibbon scoring to extend the lead.
The Knights were well and truly on top and interchange half James De Saxe ensured it remained that way with a perfectly-timed pass for Josh King to score and make the score 26-14.
Donovan then bagged his second try, beating three defenders with ease to give Newcastle what seemed like a comfortable 32-14 advantage.
While the Knights were in control, it was the Raiders who scored two late tries to give the men in red and blue a late scare.
Newcastle remained calm though and held on for a hard fought win.
NYC Round 1:
1. Jake Mamo
2. Bryce Donovan
3. Sione Mata'utia
4. Chance Peni
5. Josh Birch
6. Jacob Gagai
7. Jaelen Feeney
8. Jah Pakau
9. Danny Levi
10. Tuiala Togiatasi
11. Lachlan Fitzgibbon
12. Luke Yates
13. Joe Boyce
14. James De Saxe
15. Brad Russell
16. Josh King
17. Tama Koopu
I'll always love ya Joel :'(
Looks a good side.
Mamo could cause havoc if he has the knack of reading when to chime into the attack. He'll turn half gaps into tries every time.
very exciting news is on its way.... more news to come asap.
Round 1 NYC preview
Wed 5th March, 05:19PM
NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS v PENRITH PANTHERS
Round 1, 2014 NYC Premiership
Saturday March 8
Sportingbet Stadium, Penrith
Last Time They Met:
Round 19 last season. Penrith won 30-4. In fact, the Panthers claimed both clashes in 2013, also winning 30-14 in round 6.
14. De Saxe
Jake Mamo vs Brent Naden
This will be a fascinating battle between two of the most promising young players coming through the ranks.
Let's start with Mamo, a kid who has impressed big time in his maiden pre-season with the Knights' NRL squad this summer.
On the back of a impressing big time on the training paddock and in matches against the First Nations Goannas and Auckland Nines tournament, the Gosford-born flyer will be a key player in the Club's NYC campaign in 2014.
As Mamo showed in the 20s last season when he crossed for 22 tries, he certainly knows how to find the white stripe and that ability will again feature strongly in the Holden Cup this season.
The Knights' emerging star comes up against a Panthers side who have named Brent Naden at fullback.
Naden is a Wellington junior who was signed by Phil Gould as a 16-year-old to play in the SG Ball ranks in 2012.
Brent has plenty of ability and speed and his rivalry with Mamo, a player also blessed with speed, will be great to watch.
As closely matched as these two players are though, Mamo's NRL experience gives him a significant edge.
Jaelen Feeney vs Jarrod Brackenhofer
As arguably the Knights' biggest off-season purchase, Feeney has taken that tag and ran with it this summer as one of the Club's best trainers.
The former Canterbury halfback hailing from Nerang in Queensland is a player with enormous potential.
He led the Bulldogs to the Holden Cup Preliminary Final last year and Knights' officials are hoping he can do a similar job for the men in red and blue.
Feeney will come up against a Panthers No.7 in Brackenhofer - an Emu Plains junior who as plenty of professionalism and can play a number of positions.
Young Jarrod has a heap of skill, but Feeney holds the edge in the experience stakes.
Tuiala Togiatasi vs Atonio Pelesasa
A bustling forward who joins the Club after previous stints with the Bulldogs and Roosters, Togiatasi will play a crucial role up front for the Knights.
The Logan Brothers junior has impressed this summer and is focused on setting a strong platform in the forwards.
Togiatasi lines up opposite Pelesasa, a St Mary's junior is quick on his feet and mobile. This match-up could go a long way to deciding the game.
Where the match will be won:
As just stated, the forwards hold the key to victory.
If the Knights' big men start strongly, it will allow the Club's speedy outside backs to star with their speed and silky skills.
Newcastle also has a huge advantage with Mamo and Sione Mata'utia returning to the NYC ranks after impressing in their maiden pre-season with the NRL squad.
Sure the Knights are taking on the defending NYC champions, but a lot has changed since last October when the Panthers charged to the under 20s title.
For starters, only two players from Penrith's premiership-winning team remain with a large number of players stepping up to higher grades over the summer.
Newcastle, meanwhile, has retained a large number of their playing roster from last season.
In fact, 15 of the Club's 18 Holden Cup players have previously played in the Knights' system.
Another positive is 11 of the squad's 18 players are also local Newcastle juniors- a scenario which is sure to warm the hearts of the local Hunter community.
Throw in the fact the Knights also welcome back Mamo and Mata'utia after their first taste of training with the NRL squad and the Club's Holden Cup side has the potential to achieve big things in 2014.
Last edited by rhugh89; 08-03-2014 at 12:14 PM.
My feeling from watching the trials is that Danny Levi will be the surprize packet for us. As a 17 year old who joined us mid season last year without doing the sort of training that NYC players do he wasn't that impressive, but he is a little tank now. In the Roosters trial he was sprinting out of dummy half and dragging 3 forwards for metres and then offloading. I don't know if he has long minutes in him, but he carves up from dummy half.
Interested to see how Mamo goes at fullback.
I can see him being very dangerous, sniffing around the forwards for offloads and finding gaps through the middle. One of the fittest at the club too, so he should be heavily involved.
great news for the club.... Pondekas has signed with the knights.. Broncos fans on the forum cant believe it.... This kid could be a revelation this year, he has represented qld at all age levels and australia as well.